Crowd watching power boats race during the International Power Boat Festival. Photo courtesy of

City considering festival subsidies

Sarnia’s mayor is welcoming recommended changes to the city’s festival and events policy.

Council is being asked Monday to approve a one-year pilot program that would subsidize 50 per cent of the fees for service for non-profits, community groups and organizations without a revenue source, and increase the major events assistance fund to $50,000.

Mayor Mike Bradley is pleased with the direction.

“Several months ago, because a number of inquiries and complaints received from festival organizers, that policy was reviewed that was put in place a couple of years ago,” said Bradley. “The report back to council is very positive and looks to put more money into helping these festivals and also to reduce a lot of red tape that exists and that’s a positive step forward.”

Parks and Recreation Director Rob Harwood also recommended festivals and events that are not free to the public be considered individually, and staff be directed to develop a new policy for entertainment and events using indoor facilities.

It has been recommended that staff report back to council on the changes at the 2020 budget deliberations.